Venezuela boasts the longest coastline in the Caribbean and has countless beaches, islands, and cays to launch scuba diving adventures. Venezuela also offers impressive inland adventures, such as Angel Falls that sets a world record, as it plunges almost 2,700 feet down to continue to cascade over more rapids and waterfalls, flowing into the Amazon basin. The wildlife and birds of the country are legendary, as are the plains and their cowboys. Venezuela has a lot to offer, and even more if you are a scuba diver.
Los Roques & La Margarita: Venezuela's Prime Scuba Destinations
Venezuela acts as the southern boundary of the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Curaçao, Aruba, and the Leeward Antilles all lie just off the Venezuelan coast. These islands are popular scuba diving destinations, but do not overlook Venezuela and her beaches and islands. Los Roques archipelago is a pristine collection of Caribbean islands ideal for scuba divers seeking a more remote, quiet destination. La Margarita, off Venezuela’s northeast coast, is a popular tourist hotspot full of dive shops and day trips, and of course, nightlife.
The country lies over the equator and the Venezuelan climate remains comfortable along the coast. Water temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year, peaking in mid-September to around 29°C (84°F) and reaching lows in mid-February of around 24°C (75°F). Along the coast and on Venezuela's many islands, air temperatures are moderate and consistently warm, and scuba divers can easily go without a wetsuit year round, although many choose to wear one during the slightly cooler “winter” months straddling February.
There is a lot to do in beautiful Venezuela, above and below the waves. The scuba diving industry is still picking up momentum in the country; additional dive sites and dive shops are popping up in the remote areas of the country each year. Find the right dive instructor and enjoy the high possibility of diving sites that have not yet been explored.
One of the best scuba diving locations in Venezuela is Los Roques. The Cabecera de Los Roques barrier reef fringes along Los Roques’ islands (50+), forming a ring around the central huge lagoon. Los Roques is a prime scuba and snorkeling destination, remote though relatively easy to get to by boat or plane. The numerous islands are rimmed with pristine white sand beaches and havens for wildlife. On land there are iguanas, salamanders, black lizards, and abundant bird species. Los Roques is about 100 miles north of Caracas, and only an hour hop flight from Margarita Island.
Los Roques: Southern Caribbean Paradise
Los Roques archipelago is the oldest National Sea Park in the Caribbean. There are multiple established dive sites to explore and moor to. The area has benefited from ecological protection since its inception in 1972. This status and Los Roques’ low population allows nature to preserve a balance, and the reef's health is evidence that it has worked. The area is one of the least known, best-kept secrets in the Caribbean.
Gran Roque is the center of human activities in Los Roques. The island is where most tourists and scuba divers arrive via the airport on the island, and where most of Los Roques resorts and accommodations are found. There are great scuba diving sites located just offshore Gran Roque. Near the northern tip of Gran Roque is the dive site La Pierda de la Guasa. This intermediate-to-advanced dive site is known for an underwater rock pinnacle rising from the sea bottom. It is a popular dive for spotting predator species such as huge barracuda and mackerel tuna.
Along the northeast tip of Gran Roque is La Cueva de los Sabalos, a dive site ideal for beginner and intermediate level scuba divers to explore the life and wall around the cave entrance. Advanced cave and night divers frequent this dive site to explore the inside of Sabalo cave, the entrance of which is about 20 feet below the surface.
South of the Gran Roque area, along the eastern boundary of the archipelago, are remote shallow waters with cays and very small, uninhabited islands. This area offers exceptionally high visibility of 30 plus meters due to its location away from the nutrient rich, algae bloomed waters of the lagoon. The dive site called Boca del Medio is an example of a crystal clear dive site worth arranging a scuba trip around. The large area around Boca del Medio is great for exploring and searching out shipwreck debris that litters the seabed.
A remote dive site by the name of Cayo de Agua lies just off the western most Los Roques Island of the same name. This dive site is suited for intermediate to advanced scuba divers and offers the opportunity to dive alongside whale sharks and pods of dolphin between the months of December through February. Huge schools of tuna are famous off this western edge of the archipelago, and where there are tuna schools so follow the majestic whale sharks.
The southern Los Roques islands known as Dos Mosquises offer thriving coral reef formations along the sand keys that dot the area. The dive site La Pelona de Dos Mosquises boasts coral masses and abundant sea life; carpets of anemone and lobsters are accessible to both beginner and advanced divers. The nutrient-rich water off this southern zone of Dos Mosquises islands lowers the visibility relative to many other high visibility dive sites in Los Roques, but do not let that deter you from diving this lovely site.
Isla Margarita: Fun in the Sun and Under the Moonlight
Off the north east coast of Venezuela is Isla Margarita, a popular and easily accessible scuba diving destination in Venezuela. The islands are great for snorkelers and scuba divers. Along the reef, you can swim with majestic queen angelfish, watch banded butterfly fish flash by, and float with huge, lazy grouper. Conch are also very prevalent in the tropical Caribbean waters of Venezuela especially Isla Margarita.
Off Isla Margarita's northeast coast is Los Frailes Island, a popular high visibility dive site for day scuba trips from Isla Margarita. There are also established dive sites off Isla Margarita's southern islands of Cubagua Island and Coche Island. Isla Coche is a nice getaway from the crowds of Isla Margarita, and offers abundant marine life but relatively low visibility compared to other dive sites. Isla Coche has quiet white sand beaches, and nice, inexpensive accommodations. The island offers a few dive sites with fish and bottom dwelling marine life everywhere.
Most who travel to Venezuela fly into the capital city of Caracas, arriving into Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS), known locally as 'Maiquetia'. From Caracas, scuba divers can easily hop on a domestic flight out of the busy city of 3 million to several coastal and island destinations. Flying from Caracas to Los Roques Airport (LRV) is a great choice for scuba diving. Explore Venezuela's quiet, pristine Caribbean archipelago, collectively known as Los Roques, just 70 miles north of Caracas. Los Roques Airport is on the island of Gran Roque, where most of the resorts and dive shops are found.
Ecobuzos is one of the best known and most established of the dive shops on Gran Roque. The shop's instructors can offer refresher courses for those who need to brush up on their skills or obtain more advanced certification levels. The diving in the area is spectacular, with abundant reef and high visibility most days of the year. Ecobuzos delivers divers to many sites off Los Roques and also other Venezuelan islands. The shop has sailboats, kayaks, snorkel tours, and liveaboard dive cruise options, as well as day dive trips to the nearby local Gran Roque dive sites.
The City of Caracas...Your Venezuelan Scuba Adventure Starts Here
For those who start in Caracas, check out the scuba shop Scubatec DiveCenter. The shop offers instruction and dive excursions off Venezuela's mainland and islands, and equipment for purchase or rental. For those who travel west of Caracas along Venezuela's shore, take a trip to Morrocoy National Park. Just south of the park in the town of Tucacas, arrange a dive trip with Frogman Dive Center. The dive shop regularly takes divers to the nearby dive sites along the coast in the park, as well as to Los Roques archipelago that is within about 60 miles to the northeast of the Tucacas area.
Another popular hop flight from Caracas for scuba divers is into Santiago Mariño Caribbean International Airport (PMV). The airport is in Porlamar, the largest city on Isla Margarita. From there scuba divers will find many resorts and dive shops to accommodate weeklong or daylong scuba trips. The island of La Margarita is a very popular tourist destination in Venezuela. There is a lot to do, day and night, on the island. The ferris wheel lights up at night, and the island offers a carnival atmosphere year round.
Arrange to dive with the local La Margarita dive shop Enomis Divers. Enomis has a great reputation for arranging great day trips, as well as snorkel options for non-divers. The shop will also bring those divers who request more advanced divers to dive sites that are more off the beaten path, far away from the crowds.
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